In the spring, especially, it’s important to show our liver a lot of love.
As the second largest (and heaviest) organ in the body, the liver is a tireless multi-tasker. On a functional level, it serves us by:
- Producing bile
- Producing cholesterol and proteins to help carry fats throughout the body
- Creating proteins and cholesterol to form hormones
- Storing glycogen and releasing glucose as needed
- Storing blood and iron
- Neutralizing and removing toxins
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each season is associated with specific organs. Spring is associated with the liver and gallbladder.
The liver and gallbladder work in tandem to support a strong immune system and to promote balanced moods and healthy digestion. Bile, which is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladde, contains bile acids that are needed for the digestion and absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K in the small intestine.
Your bloodstream flows through the liver, which acts as a filter, removing dead cells, chemicals, drugs, particulates, and alcohol. Speaking of alcohol…taking a break from drinking alcohol, goes a long way toward preserving liver energy.
A toxic, congested liver leads to impaired release of bile from the gallbladder, which affects your ability to break down fats and overall digestion.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of blood, energy (qi) and emotions throughout the body. The liver is the organ most affected by excess stress or emotions. Symptoms of stagnant liver energy or liver dysfunction might include an inability to relax, eye issues, such as blurry vision, as well as feelings of frustration, rage, anger, irritability and depression. Fatigue and physical weakness are also indicative of an improperly functioning liver.
Jumpstart your morning—and show your liver some love—with this tasty Liver Cleanse Smoothie.
Liver Cleanse Smoothie
1-1/2 cups unsweetened flax milk or other unsweetened dairy-free milk
1 packed cup baby spinach
1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 dandelion leaves
1 radish, roughly chopped
1/2 pink grapefruit
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Place all ingredients in a Nutribullet or high-powered smoothie and blend until smooth.